By Terez Howard

I retighten my locs once every six weeks.  Depending on my schedule, sometimes it’s closer to five weeks, and other times it’s nearly seven weeks.  But I tend to hold to my schedule.  Retightening regularly keeps the new growth from creeping and crawling and from losing those original parts.

I started retightening my hair with the Sisterlocks tool after I took the Sisterlocks retightening class in October 2011.  I also experimented with the Nappylocs tool and paperclip tool.  Which is best for retightening your locs?

First, let me say that the tool that works best for me might not work the best for you.  Not all locs are created equally.  And certainly, we have our own personal preferences.

From my experience retightening, here are my comparisons:

Sisterlocks toolsisterlocks tool

This is the official tool for the locs that were installed in my hair.

Pros:

It can quickly be attached the end of a loc.

It does not slip off of a loc’s end.

Its pointy tip makes it easy to insert into new growth.

Cons:

The clip mechanism tends to snag loose hairs from other locs.

The size of its top, at times, makes it difficult to send a loc through the final turn.

Opening the clip on the tool will make your thumb sore because it does not open easily.

It can only be obtained by taking the Sisterlocks Retightening Class.

This class costs $250.

Nappylocs toolnappylocs tool

This tool can be used to retighten micro size locs.

Pros:

It does not snag hair because it has no clip mechanism.

It can be easily obtained at Nappy N Happy.

One only costs $16.95 plus shipping.

Cons:

It slips off my ends easily, even though I purchased the size that would supposedly have been right for my hair.

Its point tip is not very smooth and scratches at my scalp.

Paperclip tool

This homemade tool can be used to retighten a variety of loc sizes, not just micro locs.paperclip tool

Pros:

Anyone can make this tool with a paperclip and masking tape.

It costs pennies, if that!

It’s great for pulling a loc through a final, tight turn.

Cons:

There is no way to get my ends to stay attached to this tool.

All of the turns are backwards with this tool.  For instance, if you usually insert your Sisterlocks/Nappylocs tool from the right side of the locs, you have to insert a paperclip tool from the left side to pull the loc through the correct way.

My Retightening Choice

The Sisterlocks tool.

While I had many problems with snagging, especially in the beginning, I love that this tool does not fall off of my ends.  I spend entirely too much time attempting to reattach the Nappylocs tool and the paperclip tool that they are not worth trying to retighten my entire head with them.  My biggest complaint with the Sisterlocks tool is the snagging (which is ironic because this clip is also what I like best about this tool).  However, I have mostly adjusted my method so that this isn’t much of a problem anymore.

My second choice is the paperclip tool.  I actually use it when I cannot get the Sisterlocks tool through a tight, final turn.  I can slide that paperclip tool under and pull a loc through a final turn with great ease.

What should you do?

Experiment!  I would recommend learning to retighten your locs, no matter what.  I think that $250 is a lot of money to spend on a class, and if you have it, great.  Go for the class.  If you don’t have trademark Sisterlocks, if you don’t have the money for the class or if you have no desire to take the class, save your money and try the other two tools.  They definitely get the job done.  Perhaps if I hadn’t started with the Sisterlocks tool and gotten used to it, I would have learned to adjust to one of the other two tools.

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